How To Lose 7 Stone But Avoid Getting Saggy Skin As A Result
Q. I am trying to lose weight and have lost a stone so far. But I need to lose another seven. I’m 42, 5ft 7in and weigh 18st 1lb. It’s a slow process but I’m told that doing it slowly is the best way to keep the weight off. Also, I don’t want to end up with loads of excess skin hanging off my body. How do I avoid this?
READ:Revealed, Why Putting On Weight Causes Men To Get ‘Beer Bellies’ And Women To Become Pear-Shaped
A. Surely losing weight is really easy? Don’t eat for a few weeks (or have the bare minimum) and you will lose weight on a massive scale. Job done. But it’s not actually that simple. Why?
There have been a few good medical studies that suggest rapid weight loss on a very low calorie diet (VLCD) plan of around 800 a day is beneficial, especially if you have a lot to lose.
As well as helping slimming, it has positive effects on blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol. But in my experience, this is rarely sustained in the long term.
When scientists study VLCD plans, they do it in a very controlled way.
But most people, when they crash diet, just cut out large amounts of food quite randomly, only eating what they perceive to be healthy, such as a low-fat yogurt and an apple a day. Disaster.
If you do this, you quickly become starved of what your body needs: essential nutrients, such as protein. And because such diets are restrictive, people never view them as life-long – more something to get to the end of. Then bit by bit, old bad eating habits re-emerge, and weight is regained.
To lose a couple of pounds a week, a person of 5ft 7in, who is 18-ish stone, would need to make sure they were eating no more than 1,800 calories a day.
But I don’t like clients to get too hung up on calories. Instead, focus on giving refined sugars a miss as much as possible, eat lots of protein, naturally occurring fats, and keep starchy carbs to one meal per day – breakfast or lunch. Consider only drinking alcohol on one or two nights per week, with no more than two drinks on each of those.
Activity burns calories, and the more active you are the more calories you burn. Simple.
Finally, the issue of skin. There is likely to be some laxity after massive weight loss, especially in middle age. But, anecdotally at least, slower slimming seems to help the skin recover better.
Any workout plan should emphasise resistance, featuring muscle-building exercises not just slogging away on a treadmill. By building and toning the body you will achieve a better shape. Whatever happens with that, remember that the upsides of weight loss, in saving you from a horrible, unwell life, massively outweigh the downsides.
Q. I would love to do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), but I have very bad knees. All the workout plans I see want me to do squats or jumping jacks, which are just impossible for me. What else can I do?
A. You can do HIIT training in any way you like, for example by doing fast lengths in a pool, sprints on a bike or doing intervals on a cross trainer at the gym – anything like this will do for a low-impact workout.
If your knees are a problem, the first thing to do is to address the best ways to strengthen and stabilise them.
Assuming that you have already done this, you should plan your workout schedule to include some structured interval training that uses the same high intensity peaks and low intensity troughs as the programmes that you have seen, but through exercises that won’t directly stress the knees.
Remember, it’s the intensity that matters, so whatever you are doing you can produce the exact same result but without the strain.
Does Exercising Cause Acne?
Dr Gary Goldfaden, dermatologist and creator of Goldfaden MD skincare, says: ‘Exercise induces sweat, which in turn can cause bacteria, which can lead to acne.
‘The most important thing to do after exercising is to remove damp, tight clothing and wash.
‘Exfoliate with a body scrub and use a good cleanser – and not just on your face. Salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide cleansers can attack stubborn body acne and ward it off by removing excess oils and dirt.’
Why should I take… peony root
Peony root is used in Chinese herbal medicine as it is believed to help women with issues connected to their monthly cycle.
It can be taken as capsules or in tea and research supports its effect on the cardiovascular system.
A 2010 study on rats found that it improved blood vessel dilation and could therefore help reduce blood pressure.
Another study that year found that peony root extract may help protect against liver inflammation